« AnteriorContinuar »
of light. And the history of his conduct gives us an exalted idea of his intellectual endowments. His attainments were surprizingly great and rapid. Who ever gained so much knowledge as he did, in so short a period?. Before his fall, he acquired the knowledge of God himself, of all the animal species, and of a new and unknown language. Have any of his numerous posterity been able to learn so much, in a few days, or even in a few years? But it may be said, that he was miraculously assisted in his intellectual attainments. Be it so; yet his mind must have been very capacious, very strong, and very penetrating, to take in so much knowledge, and to apply it to such a vast variety of cases, in such a short period of time. No man, since the fall, has ever displayed so much greatness of mind and goodness of heart, as Adam displayed, while he resided in Paradise, and enjoyed the favor of his Maker. And if we only consider his character and conduct in a just and candid manner, we shall not hesitate to pronounce hin, in his primitive state, the greatest and best of men.
2. How happy was Adam in his original state of moral rectitude and perfect innocence!
His body was full of vigor, and free from pain. His mind was full of light, and free from error. His heart was full of holiness, and free from moral impurity. His eyes and ears were feasted with a vast profusion of new, beautiful, grand, and delightful objects. His inheritance was rich and large, comprehending the world and the fulness thereof. He sensibly enjoyed the love and approbation of his Creator. He was permitted a free and unrestrained access to the fountain of holiness and happiness. God presented him with the delightful prospect of a numerous and happy posterity. Heaven and earth appeared unitedly engaged,
to raise him as high in knowledge, holiness, and feli. city, as his nature would admit him to rise. There was nothing within nor without to interrupt his enjoyments, nor to draw a cloud over his bright and extensive prospects. His habitation was Paradise, and þis heart was Heaven.
3. While Adam was placed in such a perfectly holy and happy situation, it is extremely difficult to conceive, how he should be led into sin, without the immediate interposition of the Deity. His perfect holiness would naturally lead him to repel, with abhorrence, every temptation to disobey and dishonor the Being, whom he supremely loved. Our Savior's supreme affection to his Father prompted him to resist the Devil, and baffle every temptation to sin, which his malice and subtilty could suggest. And though the Tempter pursued him with his assaults forty days; yet he could find nothing in the perfectly holy heart of Christ, for any temptation to take hold of. So there was nothing in the perfectly holy heart of Adam, that could give Satan the least advantage against him. His perfect holiness, as long as it continued, was a perfect security against any temptation, which any created being could suggest. The first Adam was as totally disposed to resist the Devil in Paradise, as the second Adam was to resist him in the wilderness. They were both perfectly holy, and being perfectly holy, they both stood superior to all external temptations. It is in vain to attempt to account for the first sin of the first man, by the instrumentality of second causes. And until we are willing to admit the interposition of the supreme first Cause, we must be content to consider the fall of Adam, as an unfathomable mystery.
4. The fall of Adam was, in its own nature, a most melancholy event. By his first transgression he forpeace and
feited all good, and exposed himself to all evil. The moment he sinned, he found himself completely ruined. His situation was extremely distressing. How could he look back, and recal his past hours of sweet enjoyment? Or how could he look forward, and anticipate the scenes of endless darkness and despair? If Esau could not endure the loss of his birth-right, how could Adam endure the loss of a temporal and eternal Paradise? This deep sense of misery, was attended with a deeper sense of guilt. He knew that he had destroyed himself, by his own voluntary disobedience. His conscience reproached and condemned him, for injuring the greatest and best of Beings. Guilt and fear tormented his breast; shame and confusion covered his face. He dreaded the appearance and frowns of Him, whose presence and smiles he once enjoyed. He attempted to hide his guilty head from the face of his Maker; but neither trees, nor rocks, nor mountains could screen him from the eye and hand of his Judge. That awful and sovereign voice which cried, Adam! where art thou? brought him trembling and despairing before the supreme tribunal, where he expected to receive the due reward of his deeds. Such a scene must have been extremely solemn. 'Our fallen Father must have viewed himself, and must have been viewed by all created beings, as irrecoverably lost. There was not the least gleam of hope in his
. case. Hence,
5. It was an act of astonishing grace in God to provide a Savior for fallen man. He had deserved and expected to die. God might have justly treated him, as he had treated fallen angels, and doomed him to a state of endless ruin. But instead of giving him up into the hands of his tempter and destroyer; he graciously assured him, that "the seed of the woman
should bruise the serpent's head.” This was the greatest and most unexpected display of divine grace, that God ever made to any of his creatures. And though the situation of Adam prepared him to have a high sense of the grace of God, in providing a Savior for himself; yet he had but a faint and low conception of the richness and fulness of the first promise, as it re. spected his numerous posterity. The promise of a divine redeemer contained good enough, to counterbalance all the natural and moral evils of the fall, and in that way, to defeat and disconcert all the malignant designs of Satan. God intended, by saving men, through the mediation of Christ, to make the universe more holy and happy, than if Satan had never introduced either natural or moral evil into it. And, there. fore, though sin and misery have abounded, through the fall of man; yet holiness and happiness shall much more abound, through his recovery, by Jesus Christ.
6. Those who have recovered the moral image and favor of their Maker, which Adam forfeited and lost, are in a much more safe and happy situation than he was, even before the fall. Adam held all his holiness and happiness, by an uncertain tenure; but saints have built their hopes upon better promises. Adam was to be completely holy and happy, on the condition of persevering obedience; but saints are secured in holiness and happiness forever, upon the first holy and vir. tuous exercise. Adam had no promise of persevering grace; but saints have the promise of divine aid and influence, to carry them through all the duties and dangers of their probationary state. Adam had the hopeful prospect of perpetually enjoying the blessings of divine goodness; but saints have assurance of perpetually enjoying the blessings of divine
Adam might expect to be but a little lower than the angels in divine enjoyments; but saints may hope to rise above those exalted spirits, in pure and permanent felicity, and to sing a new song, which none but the redeemed from among men will ever be able to learn.
7. Since the primitive glory and felicity of Adam resulted from his bearing the image and enjoying the favor of God, it is certain that none of his posterity can rise to true greatness and real happiness, until they put off the old man, and put on the new. The most shining talents, the most rich inheritance, and the most amiable accomplishments, can never supply the want of the divine image and favor, in any of the children of men. The sinner, with all his boasted attainments, appears to the eye of God a mean, vile, contemptible being. Every son of Adam must be conformed to the moral image of his Maker, in order to be a truly re. spectable and happy man. This subject, therefore, calls upon all sinners, without distinction, to be holy as God is holy, and perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect, in order to attain the highest dignity of their nature, and the chief end of their being. Remember this, O ye transgressors, and shew yourselves men.